In my 2003 Opel Agila 1.2, I try to save fuel and stop the engine manually (by turning the key) when in traffic or waiting at traffic lights etc.

Sometimes when in traffic I can stop and start my engine up to 5-10 times in 10 minutes.

Somebody told me this can destroy my starter motor, but my engine starts up in under a second, so there is not much cranking happening.

Am I wearing things out by stopping and starting the engine multiple times?

Note that my car does not have Start-Stop technology.

  • Have you read this question? It might have some good information for you.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 20:57
  • Yeah I saw that question, but I want a specific answer for a non start-stop car as they aren't designed with lots of starting in mind
    – George
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 21:07

2 Answers 2


Something to keep in mind is that the time an engine takes a great deal of its wear is cold starts. The oil isn't up to temperature yet, so parts are not separated as they should be and you get more wear. If you do this very frequently, like going from red light to red light, you're probably doing more harm than good.

Also, if your car does not start as you would hope, now you're holding up traffic while you get it started. If the car had been designed for this, I.E. start/stop technology, then you would be fine. But I would not suggest it for a car that wasn't designed for this. Especially before it's completely up to operating temperature.

  • totally agree with you. Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 22:33

I'd suspect that it is causing extra wear on the starter motor and flywheel (where the starter motor engages). Considering the start isn't in motion at any point other than starting the car, and there's no contact between it and the flywheel unless you are running the starter, you are causing more wear.

Depending on the cost of replacing those parts, it may or may not be cost effective to start/stop your car. Not sure how accurate it is, but a study mentioned here (http://greenactioncentre.ca/living-green-living-well/myth-2-its-better-to-idle-your-car-than-shut-it-off/) says that the break-even point is somewhere between 30 to 60 seconds. If you are idling for more than 30-60 seconds, it'll be more cost effective to turn the car off.

Also keep in mind local laws. I'm not sure about your neck of the woods, but there may be laws that state you have to have your vehicle running while in a driving lane. I've never heard of such a law being enforced, but it should be considered.

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